Art last! Chopin painting goes on show for first time in over 130 years
A painting of Fryderyk Chopin, unseen in Poland for 133 years, has finally gone on show after being brought into the country by a Polish prince.
The unique work entitled 'Chopin in the salon of Prince Antoni Radziwiłł in 1829' by master painter Henryk Siemiradzki went on display on Sunday at Nieborów Palace, near Łódź.
On loan from the private collection of John Radziwiłł who lives in New York, the canvass was first shown in 1887 at the Berlin exhibition of the Academy of Fine Arts.
At the beginning of December that year, the painting was exhibited at the Zachęta Gallery of Fine Art in Warsaw.
In the spring of 1888, the painting went on show in St Petersburg before appearing at an exhibition in Poznań.
In mid-July, the painting was shown for the last time at an exhibition organised in partitioned Polish lands, in Krakow's Cloth Hall.
“It is a work about which much has been said and written, but which has not actually been seen by anyone in the country.
“It is difficult to reconstruct its entire history because it was lost after 1892. It was not found until 1998 at an auction in New York, where it was bought by John Radziwill.”
She added: "The scene shows Chopin giving a concert in 1829 in one of Antoni Henryk Radziwiłł's estates.”
In the painting, gathered around Chopin playing the piano are the household and invited guests. The central figure in the composition, however, is not Chopin, but Duke Antoni Henryk Radziwiłł, who sits alongside his daughter Eliza.
But according to Antczak, the scene was imagined by the painter.
For although Chopin was a guest of the Radziwiłłs in Antonin, Berlin and Poznań, according to the musician’s movements it would not have been possible for him to play in either Berlin or Poznan in 1829.
Antczak said: “[Siemiradzki] certainly did not depict in his work the Antonin palace, whose representative hall is three storeys high, with characteristic galleries supported by pillars.”
Antoni Henryk was the son of Michał Hieronim Radziwiłł, Voivode of Vilnius and owner of Nieborów, and Helena, the creator of the nearby park at Arkadia.
Prince and entrepreneur Maciej Radziwiłł who transported the painting to the palace said: “The Three Trumpets Foundation has managed to arrange an almost three-month exhibition of the painting, which after more than 130 years will once again be exhibited in Poland. I am glad that our initiatives, both in Poland and internationally, enjoy great interest.”
The painting can be viewed at the Museum in Nieborów and Arkadia until the end of August.